Deepawali or Diwali
The word "Diwali" is the corruption of the
Sanskrit word "Deepavali" -- Deep meaning light and Avali,
meaning a row. It means a row of lights. Every home, the hut
of the poor or the mansion of the rich - is alit with the
orange glow of twinkling diyas-small earthen lamps - to
welcome Lakshmi, Goddess of wealth and prosperity.
Multi-colored Rangoli designs, floral decorations and
fireworks lend grandeur to this festival which heralds joy,
and happiness in the coming year.
This Diwali festival, dates back to that
period when history was not written, and in its progress
through centuries it lighted the path of thousands to attain
the ultimate good and complete ecstasy. Diwali or more aptly
Deepawali is very enthusiastically celebrated for five
continuous days and each day has its significance with a
number of myths, legends and beliefs.
In UP, Diwali finds its origins in
the legend of Lord Rama (one of the incarnations of
Lord Vishnu) and his victory over the evil king,
Ravana, who had kidnapped Sita, Rama’s wife. Rama,
the embodiment of truth, of morality, the ideal son,
the ideal husband, and above all, the ideal king
after one month of fierce war with Ravana, the
victorious Rama, Laxman and Sita returned to Ayodhya
on this day. The whole city was decorated with
flowers and garlands.
Every house adored beautiful look of cleanliness and was lighted with candles and lamps. Perfumes and scent filled the air. Every street was cleaned and watered, and decorated with hand-painted colorful designs.
Lakshmi Pooja, or the worship of
the goddess of wealth, is the main event on Diwali
in North and West India. It is extremely important
to keep the house spotlessly clean and pure on
Diwali. Goddess Lakshmi likes cleanliness, and she
will visit the cleanest house first. This is also
the reason why the broom is worshiped on this day
with offerings of haldi and kumkum (turmeric and
vermilion). Lamps are lit in the evening to welcome
the goddess. They are believed to light up her path.
Lakshmi Puja consists of a combined
puja of five deities: Ganesha is worshiped at the
beginning of every auspicious act as Vighnaharta;
Goddess Lakshmi is worshiped in her three forms -
Mahalakshmi (the goddess of wealth and money),
Mahasaraswati (the goddess of books and learning),
and Mahakali; Kuber (the treasurer of the gods) is
Five types of fruits and flowers are offered to the
Gods as well. Kulias (or small-sized gharas /
earthen pots), are filled with kheel (puffed rice)
with a batasha (a sweet made only out of sugar) are
kept alongside. Lakshmi is also worshipped in the
form of actual currency - silver or a gold coin in
order that prosperity become a part of the
household. Thereafter, an offering (in the form of
some sweet or the other) is made to the Gods and
everyone in the family partakes a bit from the same.
All the diyas, except the main one, are then picked
up from the rangoli and taken to the darkest corners
of the house in order to dispel the evil spirits,
which may be hiding there.
Five Days Of Diwali Festival:
Religious Texts For Diwali Festival
Some Recipes for Diwali Dishes :